Reema Kagti, a face not known to many has well proven her mettle earlier as a screenwriter for ZNMD (Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara), Dil Dhadkane Do and Honeymoon Travels with her partner in crime, Zoya Akhtar. Gully Boy will be their next venture together. Her third directorial stint Gold though feels like a rash thought hoping to take Chak De! pedestal.
Gold begins with 1936 Berlin Olympics with British India winning the field hockey final against Germany. A dream is set in motion, dream to see this victory as an Independent nation, dream to see our Swaraj Flag raised and national anthem played. Tapan Das (Akshay Kumar), a sports official and the central man in this drama takes the vision forward by pitching the idea for scouting talent and assembling Indian national team for the 1948 London olympics. Gold, based on the first gold medal that India won as a free nation is a fictional retelling and focuses not just on the historic 1948 win but also traces 12 crucial years of India’s Independence. The first half covers these chapters lucidly giving a sense of a taut story that’s eventual to follow. The cinematography is superior here vividly showcasing the screen tensions and calms. But the sheen loses soon after, what was to be a sports drama is all but not that. Gold was to take an arc to be a journey of a team standing proudly with anthem playing in backdrop rather it diverges to Tapan Das’ dancing stints, his drinking muddles and implausible romance. Given the run time of 150 minutes we get to see more of Tapan’s goofiness and emotional uproars than a solid hockey brawl.Akshay Kumar plays too much Akshay here and is trounced by the scriptwriters. Tapan seeks to entertain when you least need it, instills patriotism when it has already reached your throats and the character is further weighed down by the forced Bengali accent. What course would have Chak De! taken given two dedicated song sequence from SRK wide spreading his arms and running to Mitwa? Gold is the answer.
At its heart, Gold proudly wears the tricolor on its sleeve but fails to unfurl it up against blue backdrop. Reema Kagti plays here by the commercial cinema rules and when feature ends with National Anthem, I wish we were still playing under British India!